Started by Tony Stark as part of the Initiative to redistribute America's superhuman protection. The California division of the Initiative was first to be called the "Champions", reminiscent of the short-lived team based in Los Angeles. This was soon changed to "The Order". In addition to its duties, the team was being used as a social experiment: there were eleven members, each with powers based on Greek gods, but each set of powers was removable and repeatable. Thus, if a member broke the team's rules, their powers could be removed and another person could take their place. After a year, each member would also be stripped of their powers and code names and return to civilian life, at which point eleven new civilians would replace the former team. 
The team was comprised largely of celebrities known for making a difference through charitable work, and through a process involving a viral genomech payload developed by 'Hank Pym' each one was given superpowers modeled on the pantheon of Greek gods and trained at a S.H.I.E.L.D. base in Arizona. However, this process caused great strain on human bodies allowing the users limited time as a superhuman (roughly a year).
After defeating Infernal Man, some members failed to follow the morality clause in their contract by going out drinking, and were subsequently fired and had their powers removed. Their replacements, Milo Fields, Mulholland Black, Magdalena Marie, and Becky Ryan were given different powers.
The team would come into conflict with various villains, most with a connection to General Softly and the mysterious "M.A.N. from S.H.A.D.O.W." military group, including hordes of Zobos (mechanized zombie hobos), Cold War supervillains, Gamma monsters, Namor, and an all girl gang called the Black Dahlia who had been given superpowers via the same process as The Order by M.A.N. from S.H.A.D.O.W. as well as dealing with a murder case involving a former Order member.
The team was later evicted from its California headquarters and the M.A.N. from S.H.A.D.O.W. was revealed to be a collection of General Softly Androids first devised by the Super Human Development and Operation (S.H.D.O.) fifty years earlier; around the time of the real General Samuel Softly's death, and now part of a collection of villains (including Black Dahlias and Maul) led by Ezekiel Stane the son of Iron Man's old enemy Obadiah Stane. Although Stane's allies were defeated, he escaped and both Heavy and Mulholland Black died.
At the time of the Skrulls Secret Invasion the Order were again functioning as a team, when the Skrull replacement of Dum-Dum Dugan announced to the Initiative teams that all Skrull sleeper agents were to reveal themselves and attack. The Order's members were chosen entirely by Tony Stark, with no involvement from the Skrull posing as Hank Pym, so they were one of only two teams without a Skrull member, though they did not know this. The announcement led Calamity to believe Aralune, as a shape-changer, was the most likely among them to be a Skrull.
- Anthem - (Henry Hellrung)
- Aralune- (Rebecca Ryan)
- Calamity- (James Wa)
- Supernaut - (Milo Fields)
- Pierce- (Pam Pierce)
- Avona- (Avery Allen)
- Corona- (Carlos Carvalho)
- Maul- (Jamal Peoples)
- Mulholland Black
- Heavy- (Dennis Murray)
- Veda- (Magdalena Marie)
- Aphrodite- (Name Unrevealed)
- Hercules- (Name Unrevealed)
- Quote from Matt Fraction regarding The Order: "The Order is a modern superhero book, in terms of how it's been created and how it's managed, and, behind the scenes, in terms of how Barry and I are telling their stories. But below the surface, everything about the team-- how it's run, who's on it, and what they can do -- follows a classical tradition by being modeled after the Greek pantheon of Gods... the first Order, if you will, of heroes. Inside and out, The Order is organized around the same principals that held together those twelve legends. Tony Stark sits on top, playing the role of Zeus. His girl Friday and the on-site leader of The Order is Pepper Potts, playing the symbolic role of Hera. And on and on, down through the ranks. All of our characters have a mythical, symbolic role they fulfill, along with their quite-literal new superhuman identities.
- "The Greek gods were really kind of the original superhero team-- and if (artist) Barry Kitson and I were going to be launching a superhero team of our own, it seemed like following the order of the oldest and the best wasn't such a bad idea!"
- The Order were originally to be called The Champions, possibly after the Champions of Los Angeles.
- Regarding Matt Fraction's quote, the second name, the Order, wasn't after the Defenders's alternate name.
- 16 Order (Initiative) (Earth-616) Members
- 26 Appearances of Order (Initiative) (Earth-616)
- Minor Appearances of Order (Initiative) (Earth-616)
- 3 Media Order (Initiative) (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 2 Images that include Order (Initiative) (Earth-616)
- Team Gallery: Order (Initiative) (Earth-616)